Well, during my time in Turkey, I decided to take a break from Istanbul for a few days to visit my friend Tinkerbell in her fairy chimney home in Cappadocia. Being a popular gal, however, she stood me up leaving me to find things to do on my own.
Driving into Goreme from Kayseri airport, feeling disappointed by not having Tinkerbell’s company, I couldn’t help but stare at all the small towns in the middle of nowhere wondering whether people dream of moving elsewhere or if they don’t know any better/different. What must a life in a small village entail? Other than the common chores, I don’t know what there is to do to keep occupied, but the view sure doesn’t get old.
Every morning, you wake up to a breathtaking sunrise and a sky full of colorful hot air balloons. The roosters are crowing, but other than that Goreme/Cappadocia is a quiet and serene getaway from Turkey’s big cities. A funky kind of paradise.
What to do
Perhaps the #1 reason that draws people to Cappadocia is the hot air balloon ride. Visiting and skipping the balloon ride is like going to Orlando and not going to Disney World. Cappadocia was named one of the new Seven Wonders of the Natural World, and one of the top 10 places to do a hot air balloon ride. If that isn’t enough to convince you, I don’t know what is. Other “must-do”s include…
- The Green or Red day tour(s) are a must. It’s a great way to see a lot in a short amount of time.
- Go down into one of the underground cities. Prepare to crouch, crawl, and come out feeling like a hunchback.
- Visit the Open Air Museum
- Go swimming and horseback riding
- Rent a bike, moped, or ATV on which to ride around
- Hike Pigeon Valley or Rose Valley. There are a lot of great trails so pick one or two and go! Don’t forget to sing the Lion King theme song as you walk.
- Take the walking tour that is offered through most hostels and hotels or walk around town on your own.
- Participate in Turkish nights (unlimited drinks)
- Try a Turkish bath
How to get there
Take a flight from Istanbul into Kayseri airport, and arrange a shuttle through your hostel to pick you up. The trip from the airport takes about 60 minutes. Another option is to take the night bus from Istanbul which takes about 11-12 hours and makes stops every 2-3 hours. Convenience wise, it’s best to add Cappadocia to the beginning or end of your trip to Istanbul so that you don’t have to keep going back and forth to the airport. However, I found it was a nice way to break up my trip between big city and nature.
All the restaurants serve the same dishes with different price tags tacked on. The diet consists of something like fresh veggies, salad, hummus, meatballs, pasta, tea, and more kebabs than you can count. Everything tastes delicious and healthy. For the most part, it’s cheap too!
Sleeping in a Cave
As a central tourist/commercial town, there are plenty of accommodation options. I stayed at Rock Valley Pension which I really enjoyed. They have a nice swimming pool, great view, great location, and schedule all of your activities for you. I, personally, had no complaints, but after I left, I learned they had a bed bug breakout. They had to deep clean one of the rooms, and apparently, it wasn’t the first time it has happened. Something to be wary of if you stay there.
All in all, I did just fine without Tinkerbell. Goreme is small enough that you can get anywhere by foot or bus. When you visit Turkey, spending a few days among the fairy chimneys can be a great place to clear your head and enjoy some recreational activities you won’t find in the big cities.